Security and privacy are top concerns for many IT professionals, and it's especially relevant now, after 2014's highly publicized data breaches.

Companies around the world were victim to numerous bouts of malware, insider threats, stolen data and exploited vulnerabilities, many of which prompted urgent or emergency patches which disrupted IT departments and users alike. Big companies weren't immune to this plague, with Target and Home Depot suffering the sting of data breaches. Celebrities were also targeted, with compromised iCloud accounts resulting in personal photos being leaked online.

Watch Tech Pro Research Senior Editor Teena Hammond discuss the issues surrounding IT security and privacy.

Because of the constant concerns about security and privacy, Tech Pro Research conducted a new survey on the topic and compared the results back to a previous survey from 2013.

Download the full Tech Pro Research report, IT Security and Privacy: Concerns, initiatives and predictions.

Security concerns

The numerous bouts of security and privacy breaches in 2014 were an obvious cause of concern to many, with 84% of survey respondents reporting an increase in security and privacy concerns for this year, compared to 2014. It's clear that almost everyone anticipates the need to prepare for security struggles in the upcoming months.

concerns-1.jpg
 Image: TechProResearch

Many are confident that they will be able to handle the security threats, with 59% of respondents expecting to be more secure in 2015 and 32% predicting no change in their organization's security and privacy. Only 9% expect to be less secure than in 2014.

concerns-2.jpg
 Image: TechProResearch

Security and privacy breaches

security-1.jpg
 Image: TechProResearch

The survey found that 35% of organizations had experienced some type of security or privacy breach in 2014, with 11% reporting that it was a major breach, and 24% describing it as minor. Large companies and small companies were both affected by breaches, and larger companies with more than 1,000 employees were slightly more likely to have experienced a breach, with 40% experiencing a security breach, compared to 32% of companies with fewer than 50 employees.

security-2.jpg
 Image: TechProResearch

And the industry most impacted was government, with education reporting no major breaches at all, and being better at blocking incidents than any other industry.

security-3.jpg
 Image: TechProResearch

Security budgets

It's not a surprise that half of respondents stated their security budgets would increase, but it is somewhat unexpected that only 15% reported significant increases. About a third stated slight increases were underway.

budget-1.jpg
 Image: TechProResearch

Given the anything goes nature of 2014 security breaches - which should have been a wake-up call for any organization too distracted or complacent to take security seriously - one might expect higher spikes in funding. The fact nearly half of respondents stated their budgets would remain the same indicate that the ability to allocate significant security budget increases is rare. This is corroborated by the fact 34% of respondents felt lack of security budgeting would be a security challenge in 2015. It may also be that some respondent organizations felt they were doing well with what they had. Very few reported decreases in security funding; this isn't a priority which is expected to die down anytime soon.

The report shows that security and privacy are clearly full of challenges for companies that want to protect their data and assets from security and privacy violations. But, the report shows that confidence levels and planned projects mean that most respondents and their organizations feel up to the task.

Other topics covered in the report include:

  • Outsourcing security plans
  • Incident response plans
  • Risk management strategies
  • Security challenges
  • Budgeting priorities
  • Methods of protecting company data
  • Scheduled and completed security projects

Download the full Tech Pro Research report, IT Security and Privacy: Concerns, initiatives and predictions.